Flight for Fafe: ERC Q&A with Bruno Magalhaes

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With three Portuguese titles, a treble of victories in Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras and three victories in the FIA ​​European Rally Championship to his name, Bruno Magalhães of Team Hyundai Portugal gets a brand new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 for his round at the home of the ERC. That’s what the 41-year-old said.

You are making your comeback to the ERC with the all-new Hyundai i20 N Rally2. Is it good?“I don’t have a lot of information on the new car, my car is under construction at the moment, but I saw that it was very fast with Jari Huttunen and Oliver Solberg in the world championship. The ERC regulations mean that I can only do one day of testing so it’s not an ideal situation to try all the settings, but it is a very important step for me and for Hyundai Portugal because the potential of the car is very high. I am now very curious about driving the car and understanding the car.

How is your season in the Portuguese league?“We are back in the fight for the championship after the last two sets were very good as we are gaining points over our opponents, so that’s good news with three sets remaining.”

What is your target forRally Serras de Fafe and Felgueiras?“At the moment the Portuguese Championship is the main focus and with three rallies remaining we have to be completely focused. But when I take part in the European Championship, if I can be in first position, I will try. For now , I can’t say which position I’m going to fight for because I don’t know exactly what I’m going to find when I drive the car and the level of the European Championship is always very high.

Does it feel good to be back in ERC?“Of course, it’s nice to be back in the European Championship. Everyone knows this is the championship that I love so I would like to come back [full time] one day. Last year everything was confirmed, but we had to cancel the program because of the pandemic, so it was a big disaster. This means that it is a pleasure to participate in the championship another time, even if this year it is for a race.

As a three-time winner of Fafe, how would you describe the event and the challenge you face?“This rally is in a very important part of our country because Fafe is very famous with a great history in the world championship. There are a lot of spectators and the atmosphere is always great for sure. The stages are very nice, very technical and normally with a lot of loose gravel on the road so it’s not good to be the first car. Some stages are the same as for the Rally of Portugal but there are novelties this year, Boticas is a novelty for everyone for example, so it’s another challenge. In general, this rally is great, especially on the second day with the famous jumps. Normally you don’t have as many puncture problems because we don’t have so many stones on the road. I think it will be great for everyone.

Many people speak of Lameirinha as the flagship stage of the rally. How does it feel to ride?“This is the stage with the jumps. When you’re at the start line, it’s a bit like Sete Cidades on the Azores Rally. I know that I am starting a very famous scene that I used to see on television since I was a child. You feel something special because you know there are thousands of people and it is always a special feeling when you drive there. The last jump is in the very famous part of Confurco. You get to the gravel, but you enter a small section of asphalt before turning onto the gravel again. It is an incredible step.

What advice will you give to André Villas-Boas, the famous football coach who is making his ERC debut?“He’s doing the rally for charity and will drive my old car if everything goes according to plan. It is a great pleasure for Hyundai to receive him because he is very passionate about rallying. We know he wants to go to the end and have fun and for sure I’ll give him some advice. But I ask him if one day he will coach my team, Benfica, and all the time he says ‘no’ [because he is from Porto]. It’s really a joke between him and me.


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